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Turlock and Central Valley tie in soccer season opener
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Marcus Decouto of Turlock is escaping a Central Valley defender during Wednesdays home matchup. Decouto is one of two sophomores on the Turlock roster. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The Turlock High varsity boys’ soccer team kicked off their 2014 season with a 0-0 tie against visiting 2013 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finalists, Central Valley, at Joe Debely stadium on Wednesday night.

Although CV dominated the possession game in the preseason contest against a much younger and inexperienced Turlock team, the Bulldogs were able to play consistent defense.

This helped the lack of offensive attack as the home team managed to hold on to the tie despite a flurry of strikes from CV’s Juan Martinez.

“We always want to win, but a tie like this, I got no problems with, everybody played well,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “We didn’t create a lot or have a lot of scoring opportunities, but we fought and dug it and did well.”

CV would see grand opportunities nearly strike the back of the net but the defense for Turlock was on point, led by great goalkeeping from Raul Castro and consistent play from center backs Cody Justus and James Filling.

“Raul Castro, our goalie, he probably played the best game I have seen him play. He played well,” Sperry said about Castro. “Always in the right spot and played an outstanding game.”

Justus and Filling were able to clear away any shot opportunities as they were relentless in disrupting the CV attackers whenever they would close in near the penalty area.

“There was about 15 to 20 minute periods during each half where we fell into playing real defensively, but even during those times for the most part we did pretty well,” Sperry said. “Our guys didn’t make too many mistakes and played with a lot of heart and energy.”

In the first half, both teams seemed nearly impenetrable as Jorge Bustos led the CV defensive unit and forced Turlock to struggle when their attack was on.

Nobody really stood out for Turlock on the offensive side with CV really taking to the young ‘Dogs early on and the first half ended dead even at 0-0.

With a relentless defensive effort, Turlock was able to stay consistent on defense in the second half with numerous close calls almost hitting the back of the net.

CVs’ Martinez saw three opportunities come through his side starting with an awkward shot from the top left penalty area to the far post but Turlock keeper Castro made a nice save.

Martinez would strike at the post in the opening minutes during a free kick but the hard shot from about 35 yards out fell right into Castro’s hands.

CV continued to play great with the ball as they held on for the most part and took advantage of the inconsistent passing from Turlock.

“I think it is all part of it, but a big part is not practicing out here on the field because we haven’t had much time,” Sperry said on the inconsistent passing. “I know they play on turf fields but it’s always an adjustment. You can see the passes were a little hard and passes were a bit off and I’m sure some of it was nerves for the new guys.”

Decouto of Turlock would see the team’s best opportunity in the closing seconds of the game after a fast break opportunity, but his shot sailed wide right as the whistle was blown to end the contest.

“We have some adjustments to make, but all-in-all some good stuff heading in the right direction,” said Sperry.

Turlock will compete in the Capital City Showcase in Sacramento today and Saturday with the first game set for 9:30 a.m. against Grant High.

 “We have been looking forward to this tournament for a while,” Sperry said. “We know it will be a good test for us to see where we are at.”